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Go Beyond “Values;” Create Behaviors For Your Organization

Posted on Categories Culture/Employee Engagement, Internal Communications, PurposeTags

Your values aren’t enough to inform how people are supposed to act in your organization.

Values, if written in the right way, are “to-be” characteristics. They describe how people need to show up to work every day, but aren’t clear on just how those principles get lived out in practice. By adding behavioral statements that align with your values, you can make more concrete what employees must do every day to make your values come to life within the organization and in interactions with outside stakeholders. 

Behaviors are a critical and exciting part of, what we call, the Foundational Statement mix. In those statements, purpose is prominent; and all other statements support that purpose. Behaviors, which come last in the statement list, make the purpose statement clear and concrete, reinforcing the need to take action every day in pursuit of that noble intention. Not only that, but behaviors also describe how you will act in service of your mission, vision and values — serving as the catalyst for putting your grand ideas into daily actions that anyone can attach to.

Behaviors must be observable. For instance, a behavior may be “Challenge often” but wouldn’t be “Be a challenger.” The first statement can be seen and observed. You can tell when a person is challenging often. But the second statement is not something you can directly observe. In fact, the second statement could be a great value that would then create a set of behavioral statements of its own. If a potential statement starts with, “Be _________” you have more exploring to do. With this example, you’d want to ask yourself: Just how does a challenger act? How can we see if someone is a challenger? And there, you’d find a perfect set of behavior statements.

Writing behaviors in this way encourages creative statement-making. Intriguing, exciting, or compelling behavior statements are much more likely to inspire action, and sticky words will become part of your cultural conversations. Imagine talking to an employee in a review about whether they were exhibiting the behavior, “Summon your strength.” This behavioral language will resonate on a deep level for reflection. Beyond talking about whether or not the behavior was simply exhibited, you can even speak with the employee about stories that demonstrate where they’ve been living this or not. These words will stay top of mind, and more than that, clearly remind the employee what is expected of them at work.

Behaviors are the missing piece to ensure that your values are lived out, and every purpose-driven organization needs them. These statements make clear the daily expectations you have for employees. And with them, you can create a culture that is aligned, active and inspired.

Featured Resource:

Learn the eight critical mindshifts that ignite purpose-led organizations in our latest e-book: Mindshifts on the Path to Purpose

Mindshifts on the Path to Purpose Book cover

Avatar photoSavage Brands believes in unleashing the good inherent within all organizations. Business results are driven by connecting with people at the belief level. That’s why we align everything a company says and does with its Purpose through a proven process that links strategy and execution with “why.” We solve the challenges corporate America faces by building tribal loyalty from the inside out, focusing on people first to deliver authentic brand experiences. Savage builds purposeful brands, communications, leaders and cultures.